Backlog Management: Tips to Make Your Work Backlog Lean

4 min readAug 7, 2019

Backlog administration is a critical segment of project management because it can slow down or speed up activities drastically. According to the report, less than a third of all projects are successfully completed on time and on budget.

This mostly happens because backlogs are overloaded and packed with details that shouldn’t be there in the first place. In other words, quality backlog management is the only way to complete projects on time and deliver the right type of product.

We understand this is easier said than done, but there are ways to overcome the obstacle and run your projects smoothly. If you want to know how to achieve this goal, keep reading to learn seven tips to make your backlog lean.

Backlog Management Explained

Before we get into the specifics, we need to discuss the background of backlog management and explain how it works. By definition, a backlog is a prioritized list of tasks that teams need to work on within the scope of a project management strategy.

The two major components of a backlog are roadmaps and requirements. These are essentially to-do lists showing what and when needs to be done, while the most significant activities stay on the top of the task list. There are two basic ways to manage backlogs: iteration by iteration or continually.

Although it sounds simple, backlog management is not so easy because projects change and evolve over time. Gregory Solomon, a project manager at Essay Services Reviews, says a whole bunch of things can affect backlogs but notes that the main challenges are these:

  • Overloading: Team members come up with fresh ideas every day, but they rarely ever filter suggestions and reject new proposals. For this reason, backlogs keep getting bigger.
  • Too many details: Another way to oversize backlogs is to add too many details. When you try to describe everything, it is natural to make backlogs abundant.
  • Poor product ownership: Product owners have a tremendous responsibility, but sometimes they don’t realize it and neglect the project in general.

7 Tips to Nurture Your Backlog

The background of backlogs is pretty much clear by this point, but now it’s time to focus on the most important aspect of our topic. Without further ado, let’s see seven tips to nurture your backlog and keep it perfectly clear.

1. Prepare well

If you want to keep the backlog lean, you need to prepare well for each project and distinguish important data from less significant information. You’ll need a good product strategy to get every member of the team acquainted with the purpose of the project. Make sure to present short and long-term goals clearly and you are good to go.

2. Appoint a project owner

Your scrum department cannot function without a project owner. It’s a person who takes care of the backlog and administers every project-related detail. The owner is in charge of communication between clients and employees. Most importantly, project owners need to understand when it’s necessary to clean the backlog and throw out irrelevant items from the roadmap.

3. Schedule a roadmap cleverly

Speaking of roadmaps, this is yet another backlog aspect that demands careful maneuvering. Try to schedule all increments properly, giving your team enough room to complete each item in a timely manner.

4. Limit the number of backlog items

Another very important segment of backlog management is the number of items per backlog. A product owner and his team are not able to handle countless items simultaneously, so it is necessary to limit the number of backlog items and ensure effortless implementation. According to some studies, the human brain can process up to 150 relationships at a given moment, which is probably the maximum number of items you should strive for.

5. Keep your team involved

If you want the project to run smoothly, you need to keep the team involved and consult them before making decisions. It’s not necessary to discuss everything, but important details should be analyzed by the whole team.

6. Feel free to say ‘No’

Product owners should not be afraid of saying ‘No’ and eliminating new backlog ideas. Sometimes it is crucial to focus on the existing tasks, so you cannot afford to keep adding new ideas to the work process day after day.

7. Keep it polished

The last suggestion on our list is to keep the backlog polished and groom it to reach perfection. Try to identify obsolete items and detect pain points that are slowing down the project. Keep an eye on every detail and concentrate on elements that your client really wants to see.


Backlog management is the only surefire way to keep your project smooth and flawless, but most owners get lost in the process and overload teams with too many details. It’s a big issue because it slows down product completion and makes team members confused.

In this post, we discussed the background of backlog management and showed you seven tips to make your work backlog clean. Each project is different and requires delicate planning, but our tips give you a general understanding of backlog management so don’t hesitate to use them in your work!

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